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Tondeo TSS-3 Cabinet Blade, Early Impressions

A few weeks ago, I acquired my first shavette: I was always attracted to straight razors, however my main reason for the shavette, was increased accuracy when shaping my beard. The choice fell on the Boker Barberette because of its similarity to the Dovo Shavette and Tondeo Sifter, with which it shares the ability to use two different types of blades: DE blades snapped in half and longer ones, called cabinet blades. The Boker, being priced similarly to a Parker, is also more affordable than either the Dovo or Tondeo.

My Barberette has been used mainly with Astra SPs, a blade that was new to me, and which I chose because of its reputation as a good starter shavette blade. Indeed, we became fast friends: the Astra SP is sharp enough, without overdoing it, and I'd say more comfortable than average. It also seems to age more gracefully than most other blades, a minor aspect but still worthy of note.

Having had a couple shaves with the TSS-3, now, these are certainly very early times, so FWIW:
  • The TSS-3 are obviously sharper than the Astra SPs, simply going by how easy it is to let a little blood, just by applying a very slight pressure.
  • In spite of its superior cutting power, I didn't have any major (or minor, for that matter) incident; however, I did rest the blade in a couple spots I wasn't supposed to, as the extra length is something I still need to adjust to.
  • In general, I suspect the blade may be rougher, or less comfortable than the Astra SP.
  • The TSS-3 are supposedly thicker (and thus more rigid) than standard DE blades, however I cannot readily discern a difference with my naked eye, simply handling it. A side-by-side comparison might be necessary.
At this time, I don't feel like the extra sharpness is adding anything of significance to the shaving performance, while the reduction in comfort is easy to notice.

It is entirely possible, on the other hand, that my technique needs to change and improve to take full advantage of the longer and sharper blade. While my dexterity and familiarity with the shavette has been improving by leaps and bounds, there are still inroads to be made.

The extra length can help somewhat in making straight lines, as I was hoping, but the reduction in maneuverability is greater than I was expecting. Perhaps the length of Artist Club blades and the likes, half-way between cabinet and DEs, was chosen as an optimal compromise.

All in all, I'll certainly keep using the TSS-3 blades, until my opinions mature in a more well-rounded understanding of the blade's pros and cons.
The sharpness of the TSS-3 has apparently dropped off a cliff from the third shave and on.

While the blade still retains a characteristic, somewhat high-pitched ring to it, whenever I pass my thumb on the edge, it no longer feels as it would slice a finger open, if only I pressed against it.

Comfort-wise, there is a definite improvement, especially noticeable with dry touch-ups on the beard's edges. The drop in sharpness didn't seem to affect the quality of wet shaving in any significant way, although I suspect a difference might become apparent when dealing with longer stubble, and loading up a fresh half.

Indeed, it is more comfortable than the Astra SP now, although it should be noted that the cabinet holder does expose the blade markedly less than the DE insert, which I suppose may affect blade stiffness and increase chatter when using the shorter DE blades.

All in all, I would daresay that corking the blade out of the box, might be an option worth considering, for those who value comfort over sharpness.

A digital caliper seems to confirm my naked eye assessment, measuring a thickness of just 0.08 mm, the same as the Astra SP I'm holding

I might post some pictures of the Boker Barberette, the holders and, most assuredly, the blades, assuming there is some interest.
Nope, cabinet blades are kind of hard to source, and the Tondeos were the only ones I was able to get my hands on without paying through my nose.

I no longer have the Barberette, and transtioned to the Artist Club system and then to tradstraights.

The Tondeo compares favorably to the Feather Professional in terms of sharpness, however the latter wins in durability. When Pros can be had for only about twice as much as cabinet blades, yet last more than twice as long, there isn't much point in using the Tondeos, except for the sake of experimentation and/or variety.

A Kai Captain Standard isn't all that more expensive than a Tondeo shavette, is in a different league entirely for quality, and there are a variety of blades to try that are also much easier to acquire.

The Chinese also sell copies of the Artist Club SS, Kai Captain and Luffy, that are quite usable and very cheap.

All of that kind of puts the last nail in the coffin for the cabinet system, as far as I'm concerned, which is kind of sad, because I would use it gladly along the others, if the pricing was more sensible and the blades not so bloody hard to find.
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